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Thread: How to repair this broken head stock ?

  1. #1

    Default How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I have reglued a few broken head stocks for guitar, mandolin successfully.
    This time, it's a bit different: the owner has sanded smooth the barewood part of the head stock, and leave the neck intact. So the two pieces, when put together, will not fit as perfectly as they should. The second picture below shows this very clearly.

    And there are traces of some kind of glue showing it has been repaired once but failed to hold. The owner suggested me to use EPOXY (!!!) to glue these two pieces. I guessed that was what he did !!!.

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    What would be the best approach to fix this ?
    I appreciate all helps I could get.

  2. #2
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    A new neck.

    It will never go back together right with the one part sanded. And if you sand the neck, fit up will be worse.

    And epoxy will never hold it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    I know epoxy IS NOT the glue. I only use HHG or Titebond Original for glueing work on instrument.
    This is a Gibson electric guitar.
    I am wondering how much a new neck costs. And is it not to difficult to replace the neck if I found a new one.

  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    I do hate it when somebody screws up a perfectly repairable break.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #5
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    https://hazeguitars.com/blog/les-pau...val-and-repair

    Looks pretty involved. Good luck.

  7. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    A Gibson so it has a set neck right? If so why wouldn't a new headstock work, even up and level out the neck break so it is even then cut a new headstock and do a scarf joint? Just curious but it seems to me if it's a set neck my idea might be easier. Or am I missing a lot?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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  8. #7
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    A carefully fit, and securely clamped (the important and difficult part) "wafer" glued between the two parts will fix it. Both surfaces must be made flat and the wafer may need to be tapered or who-knows-what to restore the original peghead angle. The neck and original peghead can thus be saved. Obviously, finish work would be involved, but if expertly done, the repair can approach undetectable.

    BTW, when something is so nearly ruined as this one, I wouldn't hesitate to use epoxy if I felt is was needed. (As in, so many gaps that a good joint cannot be had. If a wafer is made and well fit here, epoxy would not be needed, but it could be used as far as I'm concerned.)

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  10. #8

    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    I have carved a neck for an instrument I build from scratch. The labor is intensive. But matching the two broken pieces is out of my skill (including adding a wafer piece). And the owner really care about cosmetic, he is an instrument collector !!!
    This guitar has a set neck if I am not mistaken.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    So removing the neck would require some sort of steaming the joint (thru holes drilled at the fret slots).
    The old neck would be trashed (although I love to save it for a "travel" electric guitar project), so removing it would be alright for me. I found a new neck for nearly 40$ on eBay and ordered it. The dimensions seem to fit this guitar.

    Thanks everyone for your valuable inputs. All are good suggestions, I have to choose the method that fit my skills.
    I will keep the progress posted.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    BTW: how do I "repair" the mis-spelled word in the title of this thread ?

  13. #10
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    A carefully fit, and securely clamped (the important and difficult part) "wafer" glued between the two parts will fix it. Both surfaces must be made flat and the wafer may need to be tapered or who-knows-what to restore the original peghead angle. The neck and original peghead can thus be saved. Obviously, finish work would be involved, but if expertly done, the repair can approach undetectable.

    BTW, when something is so nearly ruined as this one, I wouldn't hesitate to use epoxy if I felt is was needed. (As in, so many gaps that a good joint cannot be had. If a wafer is made and well fit here, epoxy would not be needed, but it could be used as far as I'm concerned.)
    Love it when the experts jump in. I had pictured in my mind about the “wafer”, just didn’t know how to explain it in condensed enuff form to get the idea across. Thanks! Easier I guess to tell someone “no” to epoxy. Doesn’t it move/creep easier under pressure and heat than HHG or Titebond original?

  14. #11
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    If you’ve carved a complete neck, the scarfed in wafer should be easy. Getting the measurement of the material you remove from the neck and headstock to get them flat and smooth. And both at the same angle. Would be the hard part. Refinishing the neck would hide the repair.

  15. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkmm View Post
    BTW: how do I "repair" the mis-spelled word in the title of this thread ?
    I fixed it for you.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #13
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney Riley View Post
    ...Doesn’t it move/creep easier under pressure and heat than HHG or Titebond original?
    Epoxy might creep more than hide glue, probably not as much as Titebond. It doesn't adhere (to wood) as well as either, but it coheres better. In other words, a dried thick layer of epoxy is stronger than a dried thick layer of hide glue or titebond so it is a better gap filler, and that means it is often better when a good fit between parts cannot be had. Epoxy is also better when dissimilar materials must be joined; like wood to carbon fiber, woods to metal, etc.

    One of the main reasons epoxy it frowned upon in instrument repair is that it is often unexpected and difficult to deal with for subsequent repair people when epoxy is found in the normal joints of instruments. When something is broken rather than separated at a glue joint, bits of wood are missing, we cannot attain a good fit, a choice must be made to repair or replace, we need a good gap filler (or other good reason) why not use epoxy? If the part is re-broken and must be attended to later it is going to be a bad situation regardless of how it was repaired and in the mean time we've made something playable out of something ruined.

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  18. #14

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I'd be wary about someone picky about cosmetics with a collector view of things. Your repair is going to be trashed, no mater how good.
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  19. #15
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I agree with Sunburst's approach. I would not worry about the collector's value as it is already pretty much gone. That said, a well repaired neck will have more value than a replaced one.

  20. #16

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I would walk away from this repair. The likelihood that it will end with the client unhappy with your work and the cost is very high. Look up and hand the client the phone number for Gibson support and let them deal directly with Gibson. Its not your fault that the guitar broke and its not your fault that someone screwed up the headstock making it un-repairable. Gibson will repair this with a new neck but it is expensive but not as expensive as a new guitar.

    You gotta pay if you wanna play and you should never be clumsy with a Gibson guitar.

  21. #17

    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Thanks for fixing my typo error

  22. #18

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I have clearly informed the owner that glueing work will not hold well and certainly look bad with my skill for re finishing ("lack of this skill" is more accurate). So replacing the neck would be better for him. He agrees as he only care about cosmetic. This man has half dozen guitars hanging on the wall for display. A Tyros4 costing around 4K that sits collecting dust.
    Eureka... he is a collector of instruments and his instruments are dust collectors. Wondering what these dust collect ???
    Just to make some fun.

  23. #19

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    That is an easy fix, plenty of long grain to glue back up, with some good refinishing it will be invisible, no splines or re-inforcement required

    Its not bad enough to replace the whole headstock, if you ever have to replace the headstock you have to do whats called a reverse scarf unless your also willing to remove the fretboard

    Check my signature link and view many of the tutes, some covering this exact break

    Steve

  24. #20

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Steve, I think you missed the part of the post about the headstock side of the break being sanded flat after it broke. The joint surfaces no longer match. Not the first or the last time we'll see an attempt to repair that undermines what would be a generally straight forward one. I haven't seen any Gorilla glue headstock repairs for a while.

  25. #21
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Yup, that and the unknown glue that was used in an attempt to repair it. It's not a clean break anymore.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  26. #22

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Yep did not see that they had sanded it smooth. Will likely need to be re-inforced after gluing or make a new headstock

    Steve

  27. #23

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    The new neck does not really fit this Gibson guitar. I will keep it to build a travel electric guitar with a small body.
    The owner, who is a friend, asks me to go ahead glueing the two parts together and make it looks as good as I can so he can hang on the wall for display as he does with other half dozen guitars.
    I told him there is NO GUARANTY that it will hold.
    Here is my plan:
    Glue and clamp the two parts together with Titebond. Then drill two holes for two small dowels that go in perpendicular to the headstock. Hope that the dowels provide more structural support (I am not too sure about this!!!). Then fill all the gap with epoxy. The epoxy layer will also cover cracks, the visible dowels, Sand smooth all around this area and finally spray thin layer of black paint. I think it will achieve what the owner wants.

  28. #24
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    If you want to glue it as is I would go for strong epoxy, perhaps with some fiberglass filler for more structural strength in the gaps. I would hold the two parts in perfect alignment during gluing and try to use enough epoxy (and create barriers out of masking tape) to fill the gap in one go. Then I would remove any squeeze out and finish over it with black finish. I think it could hold together quite well if not banged around.
    Dowels would not make it stronger. For strength you need some backstrap bridging the two parts. You can do two smaller angled pieces inlaid into neck vanishing towards ends and reshape the neck to original shape.
    Adrian

  29. #25

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    If you have a new neck then you can use that as a donor for a reverse headstock graft, i would advise against using any dowels, totally unrequired

    Attached link, shows this being done step by step
    http://www.mirwa.com.au/HTS_Make_New_Headstock.html

    Reverse scarf method

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    Smoothed and from behind

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    Coloured

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